Business Networking Blunders: Revenue Before Relationships

Revenue BeforeRelationships TwitterHave you ever met someone at a networking event, meeting or conference that seemed to look at you with dollar signs in their eyes?

Yeah, me too.  And I don’t like it.  In fact, it irritates me — on several levels.

First, it’s the fact that they are perpetuating the “bad reputation” that networking sometimes has — that it’s little more than a room full of people swapping cards and trying to sell everyone whatever they have.  That is NOT networking — it is basically cold calling in person.  Yuck!

Second, I dislike the fact that the person I’m talking to simply skips the whole “get to know you” part of a conversation and immediately jumps into reciting their “commercial” or their website copy to me.  Wait a second!  I’m a person — please treat me that way.  I very well may be a member of your “target market”, but please don’t treat me like a target.  Yuck again.

Third, it immediately makes me feel defensive and turned off.  Not exactly making me receptive to your “sales pitch”, eh?

Instead, let’s think of relationships BEFORE the revenue.  Get to know me, my needs, my interests, my business.  Give me a chance to get to know you, your needs, your interests and your business.  THEN, we can determine whether or not it makes sense for us to do business together.  I’m not suggesting that we need to become best friends and godparents for each other’s children.  Far from it.  But ask a few questions, show a little interest and show me a bit of your personality as well.

It’s amazing what can happen after just a few minutes of REAL conversation.

Try it.

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  1. Allison Rapp says:

    No wonder we all hate going — we think we have to become the people we can’t stand meeting!

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Allison,

      That’s one of the big myths of networking — that you have to be someone other than who you are. Unfortunately, I think the misuse of social media has only added to this. People create these fake, everything’s awesome, I’m so successful profiles online when the truth is less than shiny.

      I always teach my clients and workshop participants to “Be the Real and Talented You”.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Cathy

  2. Do you have meet ups where you are? We have a meet up called Crazy Networking which solves this problem. I went to it and had a blast. I sat with two others and when the bell rang, they took turns and went out on to the floor and advocated my services and brought me back cards of people who would be interested. When it was my turn, I went out on the floor and advocated for them. I felt very sincere in my efforts. I got two bonafinde leads and a writing contract from this networking experience. It was a great way to get rid of the fakers and break down inhibitions. Everyone had a great time and felt more genuine toward each other afterward. We were then advised to be especially kind to each other during follow up calls which I have experienced. Maybe you could start one in your area.

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Sounds like an interesting type of event, Sarah.

      Sadly, many chambers of commerce still rely on stale mixers that don’t necessarily encourage people to meet and learn about others. However, I have been to a few groups that are trying things like this “Crazy Networking” where the focus is NOT on giving your 30 second commercial to everyone in the room, but on developing some knowledge about other people and making connections.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Cathy

  3. It’s like kissing on the first date. No, it’s like kissing before you know the first name. Major yuck.

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Ha ha, Rachel!

      Yeah, there’s definitely a slime factor when people skip the relationship-building part of conversation and connecting and try to jump right to selling.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Cathy

  4. Thank you for helping me identify why my stomach always knots up when I think about attending networking events. Relationships are so much more interesting to establish and nurture!

  5. LOVE article Cathy!! I have never met or seeing action a person as good as warming up a room, networking and making me feel welcome at an event than Cathy!

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